Thursday, May 6, 2010

Teaching Main Idea, Tone, and Purpose/Audience

I came across this video clip from @harrisonmike. He was talking about how these ads make him smile. The proverbial light bulb went off. You could use commercials like this one to teach main idea, tone, purpose and audience. For example, it is a bit unclear what the message is in this ad for Snickers. I would show the kids this ad and not mention the title. I would then ask the kids to share/discuss/ write down the answers to these questions:

1. What would you title this commercial?
2. Who is the audience and what is the purpose?
3. What is the tone of this commercial?
4. What is the main idea?

What an engaging way to practice these skills for the TAKS test!


  1. Wow, that was quick!
    Great ideas - I had used this as part of a plan on (unfortunately you have to subscribe to get the content) but the general gist was to talk about choc adverts and different elements to them (music, voiceover, etc).

    From discussion with my class this morning (late teen-mid twenties European girls) they liked the ad because it was clever and interesting (adjectives from the lesson plan worksheet). Obviously, as you've shown, you can probe into it a lot more =)

  2. Another thought - turn it into a vocabulary lesson (which word from your list could we use?), a spelling lesson (which word from your list could we use..?) parts of speech (list the verbs seen, nouns seen, adjectives..) or even a point of view writing assignment (write what the red guy is thinking...)

  3. Great idea! Along the same lines, I used movies from to practice sequencing with my students.

  4. That is an awesome use of You Tube. Good thinking!! I am forwarding this idea on to all of my colleagues, they are struggling with how to get students thinking about main idea, this is sure to be a popular way to get them thinking.